I remember the first time I saw the shadow of a cloud.
Sure, we all live in cloud shadows every single day – we call them cloudy days. But I remember the first time I actually saw a shadow created by a cloud. And it wasn’t while I was in it.
I was on a Southwest flight gazing out the window as we were over the water.
It was a beautiful day at 30,000 feet – bright and sunny, one of those days where you can almost feel the warmth of the day in your bones just by looking out the tiny window. There were a few clouds in the sky, just enough to add a little white puff contrast or two to the sky. The water was sparkling and blue and oh so inviting, except there were a couple of dark spots on the water.
At first, I was confused and caught myself wondering what made the water dark in a few random little odd-shaped spots. I studied a few more minutes and then it hit me – the clouds. I’d never been able to see it so clearly in all my life.
Daily, I live and move and exist in the shadows of the clouds and can’t see what I can’t see.
But the perspective from that Southwest window seat changed everything in that moment. Suddenly I knew what created the shadow and could see the light all around on every side.
Isn’t that life sometimes? When we’re in the shadows of life, the only perspective available is no sunshine and little hope. And in that view, I often can’t tell fact from fiction, truth from the stories I’ve made up in my head.
For me, I often wish there was someone who could see it from 30,000 feet so I know what is true and have a handle to trust the sunshine is coming. Or better yet, that the sunshine is already there.
Here at What About Me, we’re hoping to offer that perspective for you and give you some truths to stand on when it’s understandably difficult to see out of the clouds and storm you’re in.
To be clear, we are offering this perspective from the ground level, right alongside you, sharing what we have seen and know. We are real parents, real stepparents, real adult children of divorce. We just want to come alongside with the knowledge, experience, and compassion we’ve earned to lend a helping hand and show you what we’ve seen from different perspectives in the process.
And ultimately, we are sharing because we want to get to know you and you know us. We want you to feel safe here, heard, known, and loved. My hope is that sharing these ideas will feel more like you’re sitting at my dinner table learning about our family rather than reading a list on the web.
So come on in, pull up a chair, and let me tell you what we have seen from that airplane window and lived on the ground.
At What About Me, our first belief is that these children of yours, all children, are worthy of love and deserve the chance at a happy, healthy life.
They deserve the chance to be kids – to grow and learn and play and make mistakes and feel safe in their homes. No child is exempt from that need.
Coupled with that, we believe parents are the key to that childhood.
Not perfect parents but healthy, growing, present parents. What we want is to come alongside parents to support you as you offer your children this help they need.
Just last week I talked with a friend of mine who is in her fifties and has successfully launched three amazing children from her nest into the world – from a broken home. I’ve always been amazed at how she did what she did, so I asked her about it. Her words to me spoke exactly to that belief and were too good not to share.
She said, “Divorce is a war-zone for your children, plain and simple, and they need you to be their refuge. Your children’s lives are going through a major upheaval. You must become a safe place of peace and calm for them to land. They are perfectly aware that the war is still raging outside. Create a space where they can feel some normalcy and peace for a while. Eventually, the battles will subside. But in the meantime, be peace for them.”
To be honest, I have been studying emotional health and safety, children and families for years. I have been in therapy myself and taken classes, been to conferences, and sought mentors. And learning how to create that space in my home she speaks of is still a challenge for me.
Over the last few years, it has become evident to me that it cannot just be about creating that space for “them.”
It’s about creating that space of calm IN ME.
And the only way to do that is to learn to help myself in order to help my child. This concept is vital in every stage of parenting and never more necessary than in the midst of a crisis like separation or divorce.
When the days just seem cloudy and dim, I know it’s hard to see and believe that you need to help yourself to help your kids. And I know we’re new friends here. You’re just learning about me and I’m just learning about you. But trust me. You are worth it and so are your precious children.
There’s another thing you could see if you were above the cloud line too. You’d see that the sun is always shining above the clouds. We believe there is never a day where hope is gone.
Now, there’s also lots of clouds too. There will be clouds and storms over the lifetime of your child with this divorce. It’s not one cloud and then it’s gone for them, just as it isn’t for you. They’ll deal with this forever. Some days will be cloudy with a chance of rain. And some days will feel like hurricane season, I know. I’ve lived those too. But above those clouds and systems, the sun never stops and there is always hope. For you and your little loves too.
While I will never forget the overall experience of my view from the clouds that day, the reality is that I forget the lesson of it every day. I get stuck in shadows of clouds, literally and figuratively every single day. And I can’t see out, can’t understand, can’t access hope. Time and time again, a friend with perspective reels me back in.
And that’s the final belief at WAM that I want to share with you today – We believe that you are not meant to do this alone.
We were created for each other and need each other, especially on those dark days. We all need someone who can see out and let us know the view is still breathtaking, the hope is still real, even on the darkest day of all.
Thank you for welcoming us at What About Me on your journey with you.
- Making Order of Their Needs - December 1, 2017
- From Bah-Humbug to Christmas Cheer: How to Handle the Holidays after Divorce - December 1, 2017
- What Your Son Needs When The Ground is Shaking: Specifics for Mom and Dad - December 1, 2017